\ Issues Paper 11: Are We There Yet? Value capture and the future of public transport in Sydney – Committee For Sydney


Issues Paper 11: Are We There Yet? Value capture and the future of public transport in Sydney

December 22, 2015

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The Committee for Sydney today released a report providing a map to using value capture to better fund public transport. Focused on Sydney, the report also provides lessons for Australian State and Federal governments on how to deliver better transport infrastructure.

The issues paper identifies 3 key issues:

  • Public Transport in Australia does not fund itself – currently around 25{49a7e38090d84b81a7ba1bb67cd1b3b0d9cda4ef54936562ea834556eae8bfc9} of the operational costs of Sydney Trains is covered by income. The remaining 75{49a7e38090d84b81a7ba1bb67cd1b3b0d9cda4ef54936562ea834556eae8bfc9} is subsidised through general revenue. This gap need to be reduced to make it more viable and attractive to Treasury and Government.
  • In order to reduce this subsidy to Public Transport, value capture mechanisms must be used. These mechanisms can include increasing council rates around new train stations, to share a small portion of the value uplift local residents receive in increased property values and increased amenity. The advantage of this special area levy approach is that the community beneficiaries as a whole pay their share – not just first time buyers, which occurs when using developer levies. The rate is low but levied over a long time so that it’s easier to pay, but provides the long term subsidy PT needs.
  • State Governments should use value capture to reduce the gap in funding public transport links – but the Federal Government can also help good practice develop, but insisting on value capture mechanisms being part of an infrastructure project it may be funding.

The paper identifies that our cities need significantly more public transport investment, even in Sydney where investment is at its highest for a generation, because we need to prepare not for a city of 4 million but that of 8 million by mid-century.

We can borrow more to fund this: it’s never been cheaper to do so and Australian public debt is low by global standards but there is little appetite at the moment for this. Because of this, we should ask the community to increase their contribution to infrastructure. While this can be achieved through increasing fares, there are easier methods of raising the needed revenue to fund operational costs.

Value capture regimes offer the best option to solving the funding conundrum. However, in order to do this, we need innovation to rebalance infrastructure provision – and we need community buy-in.

Value Capture is about ensuring that the community shares in the value uplift created by publicly funded infrastructure. The paper identifies the best model of value capture for Australia – focusing on models that will work for the Australian context.

Download the report here.

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